Home > Interpreters, Liens, Sanctions, Tactics and Strategy > Using MORE Sanctions to Restrain Lien Claimants

Using MORE Sanctions to Restrain Lien Claimants

Some time ago, your dedicated and consistent blogger reported on the tactic of using sanctions to restrain lien claimants. After all, if lien claimants want to leverage the cost of litigation to force a settlement, why not turn the tables and leverage the cost of sanctions to knock out baseless liens?

In California’s workers’ compensation system, defense lawyers and applicants’ attorneys agree – liens are not unlike a locust swarm plaguing the system.  The arm movement necessary to swat one only exposes the swatter to more, and all the while they ravage and consume all the green of the land.

It looks like this workers’ compensation lawyer is not just howling into the wind anymore.  In the case of Myra Campos v. Keiro Nursing Home, lien claimant Rift Interpreting filed a lien for interpreter services, but failed to appear at a lien conference and then insisted on proceeding to a lien trial without any apparent evidence to support the validity of its lien.

In fact, it appeared to the workers’ compensation Judge, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, and now appears to your attorney-blogger, that lien claimant expected to use the cost of litigation, rather than the chance of prevailing on the merits, to leverage a settlement.

No doubt, in the past, this very tactic had worked to great success for Rift Interpreting and other lien claimants.  I have had lien claimants pull this stunt before, but to considerably less success than they were hoping for.

The WCJ not only disallowed the lien, but also held that “the activities undertaken by [lien claimant] were egregious and frivolous, warranting sanctions in the amount of $2,500.00 plus the per-capita share of reasonable value of the services rendered by defendant.”

The WCAB denied lien claimant’s petition for reconsideration, noting that lien claimant had not even remotely approached the burden set out in Guitron v. Santa Fe Extruders (2011, en banc), which required interpreter lien claimants to show that (1) that the services provided were reasonably required; (2) that the services were actually provided; (3) that the interpreter was qualified to provide the service; and (4) that the fees charged were reasonable.

Dear readers – don’t feed these lien claimants, even for tiny claims.  I remind you of the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff.  It appearing that the Appeals Board has grown tired of these extortion tactics, now is the time to collectively raise the cost of doing business on lien claimants and cut the cost of doing business in California.

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  1. March 27, 2012 at 8:06 am

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